Grilled (Cheater) Flatbread, Big Cake, Restaurant Relief

Good morning. Hope you all had a nice weekend. The weather in New York was glorious and we spent a lot of time on the patio reading, grilling (!) and listening to music. (I think Andy played this song 2400 times.) On Friday, New York State officially closed schools for the rest of the academic year, and even though I knew it was coming, the news was still a blow — especially being the parent of a senior. I find the sadness hits in waves, and, not surprisingly, the senior in my house seems to be handling it better than the mom. Anyway, I know no one is coming here to get more bummed out, so here we go: A few things to cook that might infuse your Monday with a little joy….

Pantry: Grilled “Flatbread” with Ramps

Is there a better day of the year when the grill first opens for business? People who live in year-long warm weather, you are so lucky! On Saturday night, we fired up the Weber and, among other things, threw on some ramps (tossed in salt, pepper, olive oil; in a vegetable grilling basket) and a very olive-oiled storebought pizza dough to make a sort of cheater’s flatbread. You have to make sure both the dough and the grate are oiled, and that you lay down the stretched out dough on a part of the grate that is indirectly heated. (If you grill it right over the fire, it will burn and be hard to salvage.) To serve, we topped the flatbread with the grilled ramps (you could replace those with scallions if you don’t catch the 30-second window that ramps are in season) more olive oil, a tiny bit of Pecornio and red pepper flakes. It wasn’t the only thing we had for dinner, but it was the winner.

Project: Big Yellow Cake

This is the last you’ll hear of my birthday, I promise! But I guess my family was sick and tired of me telling them that my favorite dessert to this day is exactly the same as it was when I was 8 years old, which is to say: A classic yellow cake with chocolate frosting. So last week, they spent a few hours assembling maybe the biggest and best version of that cake that I’ve ever had. The frosting called for sour cream, and the resulting tang made it decidedly adult without compromising any nostalgia. It was truly a project, though: The cake felt like a 24-hour, 24-bowl undertaking, and I was only observing. Worth every minute, though.

Purpose: Instant Cookbook for Restaurant Relief

I know I speak for all of you when I say how heartsick I am for the millions of restaurant workers who have lost their jobs in the last two months. If you’d like to help, consider ordering Family Meal, an instant cookbook to benefit the Restaurant Workers’ Covid-19 Emergency Relief Fund. The book (available digitally only) features home-cooked meals from your favorite chefs and food writers, including Ina Garten, Samin Nosrat, Hugh Acheson, Dan Barber, Christina Tosi, Kwame Onwuachi, Ruth Reichl, Claire Saffitz, Danny Trejo, and so many more, and all proceeds go towards the relief fund. (Did someone say Mother’s Day was this Sunday?) You can also donate directly, of course. Thank you for considering.

Stay safe, stay home.

The goal of the Project, Pantry, Purpose series to keep us sane, distracted, and connected. Please continue to comment below with suggestions for recipes, projects (for kids and adults), good deeds, donation ideas, stories, movies, games, puzzles. Or just tell me how you’re doing, what your daily routine is, and especially how DALS can help you or people in your community. You can also email me directly at

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Heather Bittenbender

My first ever comment to you-
Happy Belated Birthday! Yellow cake with chocolate frosting is the only birthday cake I EVER want.
I’m more fond of you and your writing each and every day. Thank heavens you have another cookbook in the works. And Family Meal will make a perfect Mother’s Day gift for all my GFs.


Thank you for all these posts! We’ve made practically all the recipes so far- it’s been so nice to have some days where I don’t have to think about what I’m going to make. The kids have made multiple versions of the cookies from the very first post and we love them every time.

Happy belated birthday, as well! Different than expected, I’m sure, but hopefully memorable in good ways. 🙂

For the purpose today, I’ll be so happy to donate to the restaurant workers. I worked in restaurants for many years and still have many close friends there; it’s a cause that I understand. Does it matter where we purchase the cookbook? I want to make sure that I get the donation to the right place.

Have a wonderful week!


I’m so happy the series has been helpful And to answer your question: I don’t think it matters where you purchase from…but I am double checking!


I also have daughter set to graduate from high school this spring – one of the reasons I so relate to all your stories and travel tips! – and my heart breaks for her every day. There is a gorgeous prom dress hanging in my closet, not yet altered, that she is too sad to even try on for fun. She is a trooper, though, and hasn’t let it get her too down. She did have a (socially distanced) visit with a couple of friends in the Toronto sunshine yesterday that seemed mostly to remind her of what she’s missing, though and so we had a sad evening. Maybe a yellow cake with lots of layers of chocolate icing is exactly what we both need today?!


We also have a graduating high school senior—and a college senior, too. I’m taking it harder than they are, it seems. Perhaps a yellow cake with chocolate frosting is in our future, too? A belated HB to you. Thanks for posting; reading your pieces is a bright spot in my day here in Oregon.


Two seniors! I’m sorry! I keep waiting for some school somewhere to come up with a creative idea for how to hold a meaningful and responsible ceremony. (I mean, there are a LOT of schools out there!) But alas…nothing yet.


Thank goodness you are back! I hadn’t realized how much I was looking forward to your daily posts until Friday when there was none! I know you warned us but, as with most things these days, I totally forgot. Thank you again for this fun and uplifting daily distraction! Distance learning with 3rd grade twins is no joke.

Melissa Tilley

Happy belated birthday! I’ve had/requested yellow cake with chocolate frosting for every birthday since I can remember. The best!


School closed here in Virginia early on – we were the second state to do so. It was a huge blow and I only have elementary kiddos. We love school! My kids love their teachers and friends and we love all the dress up days, field trips, special projects, etc. My husband is a teacher and he’s been really worried about his students too. We’re making it and we’re all healthy so we’re thankful for that. Checking this space on the internet has been a huge help. I look forward to coming here each day. We made your snicker doodles and they were a big hit with my kids. Thanks for continuing to post and for sharing the hard things too – xoxo.


that’s a SPECIAL birthday cake!

My best friend has a high school senior and it’s so hard. My heart breaks for all the seniors everywhere – and their families!

Question – I keep trying to subscribe for email alerts, but nothing happens – any tips? THANKS!